The tastes of summer harvests do not have to be something you only dream about once the growing season has subsided. Bring a hint of summertime into your meals throughout the entire year by freezing squash and preserving it at its peak of freshness.
No matter what kind of squash you are reaping at harvest time, there is a way to retain its freshly picked essence. Check out our guide for tips and tricks on freezing squash so that your harvests maintain their textural integrity and fresh summer flair.
Can You Freeze Squash?
Absolutely! The peak of summer isn’t the only time that you can satisfy your craving for succulent squash. So when harvest time comes and you have so much squash that you don’t know what to do with it, or you’ve exhausted all of your creative ways of cooking up your crop, freezing squash can be a lifesaver.
Freezing squash will preserve your squash in ready-to-eat form and so that it is available for all of your favorite meals throughout the entire year.
How To Freeze Squash
Freezing squash successfully varies with the type of squash that you aim to preserve. No matter what kind of squash you plan to store in your freezer, we will guide you on the best method to preserve it, so it is at its best when you retrieve it from your freezer.
- Summer squash and zucchini rely on blanching and flash freezing for maximum preservation.
- Winter squashes can withstand a cubing and flash freeze alone.
- Freezing spaghetti squash requires a bit more cooking and prep before storing.
Freezing Butternut Squash
Winter squashes like butternut squash can be stored in a cool, dry place for a couple of months, but freezing butternut squash can extend the viability of this vitamin-rich garden favorite. Once properly stored, butternut squash can be thawed and roasted or tossed into soups and stews without much fuss.
- The optimal way to freeze butternut squash is to peel the squash, remove its seeds and cut it up into 1-inch cubes.
- Spread cubes in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place them in the freezer for one hour.
- When thoroughly frozen, transfer the butternut squash to a freezer bag.
Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?
Freezing squash like a spaghetti variety requires a little bit more preparation than other squashes, but it is well worth the time. Spaghetti squash is known for its pasta-esque strands of yummy goodness that are low in calories but rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, potassium, and folic acid.
Properly preserved spaghetti squash makes a fantastic instant meal option that will give you the summer taste that you crave even on the coldest winter days.
Here’s how to get the most out of your spaghetti squash when freezing it:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice spaghetti squash in half from end-to-end and remove the seeds with a spoon.
- Place the squash halves on a baking sheet with the skin side facing down.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until squash is fork-tender.
- Take the squash out of the oven and allow it to cool.
- Run a fork along the length of the squash to loosen up the spaghetti-like strands of flesh.
- Place the squash in a strainer atop a large bowl or pan to allow for drainage.
- Cover and store strainer of squash and draining bowl in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
- Discard the liquid that has drained from the squash
- Pack the drained squash strands into freezer bags, removing any excess air from the bag, and store in the freezer for up to one year.
Freezing Summer Squash
Successfully freezing summer squash requires a little bit of know-how and a few simple steps. If you slice up or cube squash and flash freeze it, you will likely end up with a mushy and disappointing unveiling when you defrost it—blanching squash before flash freezing squash makes all of the difference in the world for preserving the texture of your squash.
- Select fresh-picked summer squash for freezing. Inspect your squash and choose squash that is firm and supple with no blemishes.
- Wash squash well in cool water, eliminating dirt or pests.
- Use a sharp knife to trim off the ends of summer squash.
- Slice of dice squash into uniform slices or cubes.
- Place the raw slices or cubes of summer squash into a pan of boiling water for one minute.
- Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the squash from the hot water and transfer it immediately to a bowl of ice water. This will halt the cooking.
- Squash retains a lot of moisture, so it is essential to drain the squash. Lay blanched squash out on a clean kitchen towel.
- To keep the squash from sticking together in one mass when it is frozen, flash freezing is pertinent. To flash freeze, lay out parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread out the blanched squash cubes or slices out in a thin layer. Place the tray into the freezer for one hour.
- Once the squash is frozen, move it to freezer bags or containers and store it in the freezer for up to one year.
How to Freeze Zucchini
If you’re not growing zucchini, start now! It’s delicious and easy to store. Zucchini can also be frozen and stored and makes a fantastic addition to winter soups and stews or fresh side dishes throughout the year. Much like summer squash, zucchini has high moisture content and can turn to mush when frozen, much like you’d see if your harvest succumbed to a frost.
Blanching followed by flash freezing is the best method for preserving the qualities that we love the most about our homegrown zucchini. Follow the same process listed above for freezing summer squash when freezing a squash such as zucchini.
Best Types of Squash for Freezing
Check out some of these prolific summer squash varieties that will give you plenty of delectable fruits for use right away and that freeze incredibly well for later use.
- ‘Summer Squash Goldetti‘: Deep golden skins and substantial sweet fleshy fruits on bush-like plants.
- ‘Fordhook Zucchini‘: Upright, open habit plants which grow prolific green fruits.
- ‘Black Beauty‘: Produces plentiful deep green zucchini on upright bush-like plants.
- ‘Cocozelle‘: Italian heirloom striped, light green fruits with ribbed texture.
- ‘Green Tiger‘: Stunning light and dark green striped fruits.
- ‘Waltham‘: High performing butternut squash variety with sweet orange flesh and cream-colored skins.